« PreviousContinue »
Rod. I think, I can discover him; if you please To get good guard, and go along with me.
Bra. 'Pray you, lead on. At every house I'll call; I may
command at most;-Get weapons, ho! And raise some special officers of night.On, good Roderigo;—I'll deserve your pains.
Oth. 'Tis better as it is.
Nay, but he prated,
fast married? for, be sure of this,-
1. This expression to common readers appears harsh. Stuff of the conscience is substance or essence of the conscience. Shakspeare uses the word in the same sense, and in a manner yet more harsh in Macbeth :
• Cleanse the stuff'd bosom of that perilous stuff.' 2 • Of whom is this said ?-Of Roderigo.'--Steevens.
3 The chief men of Venice are by a peculiar name called magnifici, i. e. magnificoes. See Ben Jonson's Volpone.
* i. e. as mighty, as powerful: as double means as strong, as forcible, as double in effect as that of the doge, whose voice of course carried great sway with it, and who is said to have had extraordinary privileges, influencing every court and council of the state.
Or put upon you what restraint and grievance
Let him do his spite :
demerits May speak, unbonneted?, to as proud a fortune As this that I have reach'd: For know, Iago, But that I love the gentle Desdemona, I would not my unhoused 8 free condition Put into circumscription and confine For the sea's worth 9. But, look! what lights come
5.Men who have sat upon royal thrones.' Șo in Grafton's Chronicle,
443:- Incontinent, after that he was placed in the royal siege,' &c.
6 Demerits has the same meaning in Shakspeare as merits. Mereo and demereo had the same meaning in the Roman language. • Demerit (says Bullokar), a desert; also (on the contrary, and as it is most commonly used at this day) ill-deserving.' See Coriolanus, p. 131.
7 Mr. Fuseli (and who was better acquainted with the sense and spirit of Shakspeare ?) explains this passage as follows: *I am his equal or superior in rank; and were it not so, such are my merits, that unbonneted, without the addition of patrician or senatorial dignity, they may speak to as proud a fortune,' &c. At Venice the bonnet, as well as the toge, is a badge of aristocratic honours to this day.
8 i.e. unsettled, free from domestic cares.
9 Pliny, the naturalist, has a chapter on the riches of the sea. The expression seems to have been proverbial. Thus in Davenant's Cruel Brother, 1630 :
he would not lose that privilege
As rich with praise,
With sunken wreck and sumless treasuries.'
Enter Cassio, at a Distance, and certain Officers
Not I: I must be found;
lago. By Janus, I think no.
lieutenant. The goodness of the night upon you, friends 10 ! What is the news?
Cas. The duke does greet you, general; And he requires your haste, post-haste 11 appearance, Even on the instant. Oth.
What is the matter, think you? Cas. Something from Cyprus, as I
I may divine; It is a business of some heat: the galleys Have sent a dozen sequent messengers This very night at one another's heels; And many
of the consuls 12, rais'd, and met, Are at the duke's already: You have been hotly
call'd for; When, being not at your lodging to be found, The senate hath sent about three several quests 13, To search you out. Oth.
'Tis well I am found by you. I will but spend a word here in the house, And
10 So in Measure for Measure:
• The best and wholesomest spirits of the night
Envelop you, good provost! 11 These words were ordinarily written on the covers of letters or packets requiring the most prompt and speedy conveyance. Often reduplicated thus :-Haste, haste, haste, post-haste!
12 See note 6, on Scene 1, p. 256.
13 Quests are here put for messengers ; properly it signified seurchers. Vide Cotgrave, in questeur.
Ancient, what makes he here? Iago. 'Faith, he to-night hath boarded a land
carrack 14; If it
prove lawful prize, he's made for ever. Cas. I do not understand. lago.
He's married. Cas.
To wbo 15 ? Re-enter OTHELLO. Iago. Marry, to-Come, captain, will you go? Oth.
Have with you. Cas. Here comes another troop to seek for you. Enter BRABANTIO, RODERIGO, and Officers of
Night, with Torches and Weapons.
Hola! stand there!
Down with him, thief!
[They draw on both sides. Iago. You, Roderigo! come, sir, I am for you. Oth. Keep up your bright swords, for the dew
will rust them.Good signior, you shall more command with years, Than with your weapons. Bra. O thou foul thief, where hast thou stow'd
my daughter? 14 A carrack, or carrick, was a ship of great burthen, a Spanish galeon; so named from carico, a lading, or freight. 15 In the third scene of the third act Iago says :
• Did Michael Cassio, when you woo'd my lady,
Oth. From first to last.' Cassio's seeming ignorance might therefore only be affected in order to keep his friend's secret till it became publicly known.
16 i. e. be cautious, be discreet.
Damn'd as thou art, thou hast enchanted her:
17 Sir W. Davenant uses the same expression in his Just Italian, 1630:
• The curld and silken nobles of the town.' Again:
Such as the curled youth of Italy.' It was the fashion of the poet's time for lusty gallants to wear 'a curled bush of frizzled hair.' See Hall's Satires, ed. 1824, book iii. sat. 5. Shakspeare has in other places alluded to the fashion of curling the hair among persons of rank and fashion. Speaking of Tarquin, in The Rape of Lucrece, he says;
• Let him have time to tear his curled hair.' And Edgar, in Lear, when he was proud in heart and mind,' curled his hair. Turnus, in the twelfth Æneid, speaking of Æneas, says:
foedare in pulvere crines
Vibratos calido ferre.' 18 • Of such a thing as thou: a thing to fear (i. e. terrify), not to delight. So in the next scene :
"To fall in love with what she fear'd to look on.' 19 The lines in crotchets are not in the first edition, 4to. 1622.
20 The old copy reads, “That weaken motion.' The emendation is Hanmer's. Motion is elsewhere used by our poet precisely in the sense required here. So in Measure for Measure:
one who never feels The wanton stings and motions of the sense.' And in a subsequent scene of this play :— But we bave reason